While many corporate offices are furnished with high-quality ergonomic designs, such as responsive desk chairs, height adjustable monitor arms, and more, home offices are often devoid of ergonomics. Already, a sedentary lifestyle can lead to adverse health effects – including carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, and neck and back pain, among others – which are all the more exacerbated by a workspace that lacks comfort and ergonomic office furniture.
If you find yourself facing muscle fatigue and soreness after a long day’s sit, an ergonomic home office can help mitigate your pain and discomfort. From choosing the right desk for your profession and working style to selecting an ergonomic office chair to arranging your equipment, here’s how to create an ergonomic desk setup at home.
Start by Choosing a Desk
Desk size, style, and materials all play a role when choosing an ergonomic desk for your at-home workstation. First, look for a desk that’s suitable for the type of work you do.
･ Executive Desk If you need ample surface space for printed documents and texts, select a spacious executive desk.
･ Table Desk If your office space doubles as a dining room, choose a table desk that can pivot from work to meals.
･ Electric Standing Desk If you work predominantly from a laptop, consider a compact design like the Mini Motia Sit-to-Stand Desk, the smallest standing desk in our assortment.
Moving between sitting and standing throughout your workday promotes muscle movement and helps increase blood flow, thereby improving your comfort and ability to focus. Adjustable height desks come in a wide range of sizes; and many electric standing desks can easily be raised and lowered at the press of a button, so that you can find the most ergonomic adjustment for your height.
Next, consider style and materials. If your workspace is an extension of your living room, choose a desk that complements your home’s design scheme. In wood veneer and leather, the Leatherwrap electric standing desk is luxe yet practical. Or select a durable, easy to clean design in laminate and powder-coated steel.
Ultimately, the best ergonomic desk is one that will help you achieve a healthful posture, with a desk height that provides adequate clearance for your thighs, knees, and feet. When you sit at the desk – or stand at an adjustable height desk – your arms and wrists should be parallel to the floor as you type, with your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. An ergonomic chair will also aid proper desk posture.
Next, Choose an Ergonomic Office Chair
What makes a home office chair ergonomic? If you’re unsure of what to look for, here’s a list of the key features that will help mitigate the discomfort and pain that can arise from extended periods of sitting.
･ Adjustable Seat Height The height of your chair should be easily adjustable so that you can sit in an optimal position: thighs parallel to the floor, knees bent at a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the floor. Herman Miller office chairs feature pneumatic or manual lifts that allow you to tailor the seat height to your body and desk.
･ Tilt Tilt refers to the amount of effort needed to recline comfortably while still feeling balanced and supported. The best office chairs will allow you to sit comfortably in the seat pocket and lean back – without feeling like you’re going to fall backward.
･ Lumbar Support Lumbar support is critical to maintaining a healthful posture. A desk chair should support the natural curve of your spine with a lumbar support feature. If your spine isn’t supported, it puts unnecessary strain on your lower back, resulting in muscle fatigue and pain.
･ Armrests Armrests support your upper extremities. Ideally, your arms should be able to rest comfortably on the arms of the chair with relaxed shoulders and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
･ Swivel Base and Casters Task chairs with a swivel base and rolling casters help reduce strain on your body as you reach for supplies or pivot from task to task.
･ Breathable Materials The most comfortable home office chairs are designed with breathable materials, such as mesh, that help prevent heat buildup and wick away moisture for long-term comfort.
Among the best chairs for working from home, the Aeron Chair from Herman Miller offers superior comfort with a tilt mechanism, patented back support technology, breathable mesh-like fabric, and more. All of Herman Miller’s bestselling ergonomic chairs – including the Embody Chair, Sayl Chair, and Cosm Chair – are expertly designed to provide responsive support for your body. Not sure which chair is right for you? Take a look at our office chair comparison chart to find the perfect fit.
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Finally, Set Up Your Equipment Properly
How should you set up your desk ergonomically? Proper spacing plays a key role in creating an ergonomic equipment setup. As a rule of thumb, your computer should be an arm’s length distance away. Your eyes should be level with the top third of your screen. If you work from a laptop, consider using a laptop stand to elevate your screen, plus an external keyboard and mouse for typing. To achieve an ergonomic keyboard position, ensure that your arms and wrists are parallel to the floor as you type.
If you use a monitor, opt for a monitor arm to properly adjust the height of the screen. In terms of placement, the width of the monitor indicates how far it should be positioned from your face. For example, if it’s 24 inches wide, it should be positioned 24 inches away from you.
Overall, minimize reaching by keeping frequently used supplies easily accessible. Mobile storage like the OE1 Trolley can be positioned wherever is most convenient and helps maximize your space with a roomy drawer, shelves, and file bin.
Final Tips: Dos and Don’ts
Office ergonomics is the combined effect of the right desk, an ergonomic office chair, and proper equipment spacing. As you set up your workspace, keep these final tips in mind:
･ Do finetune your setup for your body. From head to toe, here’s the most ergonomic posture: Head and neck are straight, shoulders are relaxed; elbows are bent at a 90-degree angle with arms comfortably close to your body. Sit with your back in the seat pocket of the chair, positioned against the backrest for optimal lumbar support. Ensure your thighs are parallel to the floor, knees are bent at a 90-degree angle, and feet are flat on the floor.
･ Don’t forget proper lighting! Adequate lighting helps reduce eyestrain, which can lead to headaches or migraines. Ample natural light is best, but if your workspace doesn’t have windows – or if you work until after dark – choose a dimmable task lamp that lets you adjust the light as needed.
･ Do get up every hour to stretch and move your body. Movement improves circulation and your overall comfort, which, in turn, can help improve your focus.
･ Don’t hesitate to find the right accessories for your workstation. For example, if your feet don’t reach the floor when your desk chair is at the proper height, use a cushioned footrest so that your soles can rest flat against it.
･ Do review these tips for practicing self-care while working from home.